Tourism: Envoy canvasses creation of visa free policy for Africans

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By Taiye Olayemi

The Rwandan Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Christophe Bazivamo, has called on African leaders to unanimously create a visa free policy to guarantee seamless travels and boost tourism within the region.

Bazivamo made the call during the 48th Annual General Meeting of the National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies (NANTA), held on Thursday in Lagos.

According to him, Rwanda has implemented a visa free policy and has been able to boost its economy through this.

He said due to the nation’s visa free tourism policy, Rwanda’s MICE industry (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) recorded a significant growth of 48 per cent in two years, from 2022 to 2023.

“Africa is full of breathtaking natural tourism sites but in spite of such vast assets, the economy is not as vibrant as it should be.

“We need a visa free Africa to facilitate investment, trade and tourism within the region.

“In Rwanda, our visa free tourism policy has boosted our economy. As Africans, we should not be bothered about security issues, we have the population and the resources to unlock our economic potential.

“MICE industry in Rwanda has risen by 48 per cent in the last 2 years due to our visa free tourism policy. This can be replicated across the region,” he said.

Also, Mr Ikechi Uko, a tourism development expert, said it was high time Africans took advantage of their huge population to grow their economy by opening the borders within the region.

According to Uko, trade will be impossible without travels and the major factor to facilitate seamless travels is to have open skies across Africa.

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Mr Nkereuwem Onung, National President of the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN), said: “by promoting travel within the continent, we pave the way for deeper cultural exchanges, stronger business collaborations, and increased investment flows.

“Let us envision a future where Nigeria can work hand in hand with other countries to create a seamless and interconnected travel experience.

“The potential benefits are immense. Increased tourism will not only lead to job creation and economic growth but will also foster a sense of unity and understanding among us as a nation.

“It is through travel and tourism that we can truly appreciate and celebrate our common heritage.” (NAN) (nannews.ng)

Edited by Folasade Adeniran

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